No lines

We had heard the best time to ski was on New Year’s Day because there were no crowds. That was true, for all the wrong reasons.

Story_squareOur group of 20-somethings arrived early at Winter Park, hauled equipment to the lodge, and began preparing.

I discovered that the temperatures that day were colder than I had expected and I decided to spend the day with hot chocolate beside the fireplace.

But that decision hadn’t gotten to one of the guys in our group who had scurried to purchase lift tickets for all of us.

I couldn’t leave him hanging for my ticket and I couldn’t spend that kind of money just to sit in the lodge. So I buckled up the boots, popped into the  bindings and skied to the lift.

Surprise! There was no line at all. Up I went, getting a quick glance at a blackboard that read -38 degrees.

I was outside at 38 degrees below zero? I pulled my cap a little lower.

“Follow me.” This was the same guy who had bought the lift tickets but we followed anyway. The group arrived at another lift.

“Where are we going?”

“To the top of the mountain. The skiing is great up there.”

So we went further in. It doesn’t get warmer as you go up the mountain. The snow squealed with each turn of the ski.

We got to the top, made a fast run to the midway lodge and ducked inside for hot chocolate and a fireplace. The guys with mustaches sported icicles from their upper lips.

Any exposed skin was either bright red or white.

This was fun, right?

An employee wandered by. “We’re watching for frostbite. If we see anything suspicious, we’ll send you back to the lodge.”

Out we went for round 2 and one of the gals who had sat in the lodge the longest flunked. Her cheeks were white and she went back in to thaw out.

The rest of us made another fast run back to the midway lodge.

“Are we going to ski all day?” I asked.

“Why not?” Yep, it was that guy again. “The snow is fantastic.”

We’d already made two runs from the top. Maybe I was getting my money’s worth on that ticket.

Another employee came up to the table. “You all OK?”

“Yeah, but minus 38 degrees is pretty challenging,” I said.

“Well, it’s minus 50 on top with wind chill.”

So I’ve survived a ski trip at 50 below zero. And they were right: no lift lines. Not everyone had frozen brains.

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